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SSID Question

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by n8qxb, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. n8qxb

    n8qxb Network Guru Member

    I've set up a WRT54G wireless connection to 1 computer in the house. The downstairs computer has a Linksys WMP54G Wireless-G card. When I select SSID not to broadcast I loose the wireless connection to the downstairs computer.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated!
  2. davidsonf

    davidsonf Network Guru Member

    The obvious answer is don't set it to not broadcast your SSID. There is no point in not broadcasting it, and there are good reasons to do so.

    The idea that it increases security is not true, as your SSID is sent in the clear anyway, just not as often.

    But if you don't want you neighbor to plonk another wifi right down on top of you, let yours broadcast the SSID so that the neighbor can tell you are using that channel.
  3. howardp6

    howardp6 Network Guru Member

    As long as you are using some form of encyption you should allow the the broadcast of your SSID. If you are using WPA-PSK, WZC service and are not enabling SSID broadcase your connections will be unstable especially there are nearby networks that use no encryption. If you used any WiFi network sniffer, like Netstumbler you can see the SSID of networks that have disabled SSID broadcast. Use the maximum encryption your equipment will allow. Most people will not waste their time access a network with some form of encryption. MAC address filtering can be bypassed, so do not use it as a sole means of security.
  4. picopir8

    picopir8 Network Guru Member

    While I agree with the other post that if you use WPA or other good encription, you should be able to broadcast just fine... thats not always an option. My network consists of only one wifi computer but I have 5 other wifi devices and at least two of them did not support WPA, so WPA is not always an option. So in the event that you must run an unencripted network or WEP network, you want to turn off the SSID to make things a little more difficult for the script kiddies. With SSID disabled, its out of sight and out of mind for the neighbor kid but not the wardriver. And Im more worried about the former because they have 24/7 access to your network.

    The reason you loose a connection is because you are using the windows wifi manager. IIRC, M$ developed WPA so they want you to have the SSID enabled to "encourage" you to use WPA. Anyway, if you download the wifi manager from your wifi adapters manufacturers website (ie broadcom), and use it, then you wont loose connection when the SSID is disabled.

    But if you leave the network unencrypted or use WEP, then be sure to lock down your MAC IDs.
  5. davidsonf

    davidsonf Network Guru Member

    If you have sensitive data that you cannot tolerate being seen by others, do not use any network device without WPA. Simple as that.

    If someone else getting their hands on your data could cost you money or put you in jail, use only WPA. Otherwise you might be just as well off with WEP.

    But whether the SSID is broadcast or not has nothing to do with security. The only way to prevent someone from seeing your SSID is to turn off your wireless equipment. Every packet sent has the SSID in the clear, unencrypted. The only thing that "broadcast" does is make sure that it is seen often... which is nice if you want others to avoid setting up right on top of your network. However, broadcast or not, your neighbors are going to be able to determine your SSID.
  6. picopir8

    picopir8 Network Guru Member

    I agree in concept, but there all alternatives. In my case where WPA is not an option, I use a VPN between compuers that share sensative data. Depending on your VPN, it should be just as safe or safer than WPA.
  7. ReDFlaG

    ReDFlaG Network Guru Member

    a newbie question, why don't use ipsec to secure the lan? isn't it better than WPA?
  8. howardp6

    howardp6 Network Guru Member

    With Netstumbler I can see your SSID, whether or not the broadcast is enabled. It also shows the MAC Address of your Access Point. VPN only makes the traffic unavailable so the traffic is secure, but your network is not. Even with WPA-PSK is subject to a DOS attack. If you want more security use a Radius server or LEAP or 802.1X or do not use wireless at all, use a wired network.

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